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Why Is a Firewall Important for Network Security?

In today’s modern business world, more companies operate on a global scale than ever before — and they all must use the Internet to compete worldwide. While this online connection helps your business perform essential tasks and functions, it also opens your company up to data breaches and theft.

As cyberattacks rise worldwide, it’s critical for your business to invest in a strong firewall. When you work with Kirbtech, we protect your business against cyberattacks with a range of IT solutions to meet all of your business needs. Make us your trusted network security ally today.

What Is a Firewall?

A firewall is security hardware or software that protects your computer or network from outside cyberattacks or malicious software that can infect your computer system. The purpose of a firewall is to establish a barrier between your internal computer network and external sources to prevent viruses and hackers from gaining access and causing damage.

Firewalls protect computers by analyzing all incoming traffic based on pre-established terms. With these regulations in place, the firewall will filter traffic from your network and limit access to unsecured or suspicious sources. Your firewall guards your computer at its entry points or ports where it exchanges information with external devices.

Think of your IP address as a house; your ports are rooms inside the house. As a homeowner, you only want people you know (trusted source addresses) to enter your home (destination address). Once these people are in your home, you may only grant them access to certain rooms (destination ports) depending on if they’re fellow owners or guests. A firewall will analyze your network guests automatically and send them to specific ports or rooms based on your specifications — or prevent them from entering your home entirely.

Types of Business Firewalls

The firewall on your computer can be software or hardware. A software firewall is a program you download and install onto your computer to regulate traffic through your port numbers and applications. A hardware firewall is a piece of equipment you will physically install between the network and your gateway.

There are five types of firewalls you can use for your business.

1. Network-Level

Network-level firewalls filter incoming traffic depending on the source, destination computer’s IP address, service request, and ports. A network-level firewall can also oversee and categorize traffic based on specific protocols, the name of the domain, or other source attributes.

While most modern routers already have network-level firewalls, these systems do not understand extensible markup language (XML) or hypertext markup language (HTML). You’ll need to purchase additional protection to distinguish between friendly and malicious web traffic.

2. Circuit-Level Gateway

Circuit-level gateway firewalls monitor the handshake between packets to determine the authenticity of a requested session. The handshake process starts when device one sends a packet of information to device two. The second device responds to the new data with its own packet. After device one receives and acknowledges the data, it will validate the receipt.

Hackers can interrupt the handshake between devices by sending an overload of information to the destination, which causes the device to deny service. Installing a circuit-level gateway firewall can hide your business’s network from outside hackers and restrict all sessions to accepted computers.

3. Application-Level Gateway

An application-level gateway or proxy operates similarly to circuit-level gateways, except they provide protection for specific applications. Since application-level gateways undergo configuration as a web proxy, they prevent telnet, gopher, and other application protocols from entering the network. With an application-level gateway in place, it may block websites due to their content, not their IP address, to protect your network from malicious attacks, viruses, and spam.

Application-level gateway firewalls thoroughly examine all data packets, which can cause an increase in the time it takes for information to get through the firewall. To use an application-level gateway, the user must manually configure the firewall.

4. Stateful Multilayer Gateway

Stateful multilayer gateways combine the top features of network-level, circuit-level, and application-level gateways for a comprehensive protection option. The firewall in a stateful multilayer gateway filters packets at the network layer, determines packets’ legitimacy and evaluates the packets’ content at an application layer.

A stateful multilayer gateway also directly connects the client and the host for greater user transparency. Since the stateful multilayer gateway does not use a proxy, it works faster than application-level systems with the same in-depth data inspection.

5. Next-Generation (NGFW)

Next-generation firewalls combine traditional firewall systems with added functionality, such as intrusion prevention systems. Unlike other firewall options, next-generation firewalls include deep pack inspection, which examines the data within the packet instead of only the headers. The additional security of a next-generation firewall allows users to identify, categorize and stop packets with malicious data.

Benefits of Investing in a Business Firewall

Understanding the many benefits of a firewall is the first step in helping your business thrive in the digital age. Even if technology and networks are only a small part of your daily operations, taking proactive measures is still essential for keeping all of your data protected. A firewall serves as the first line of defense against malware and hackers trying to access your company’s data or systems.

Explore these additional benefits of firewall security.

Stops Viruses and Cyberattacks

Viruses and cyberattacks can bring your digital operations to a standstill. With the creation of hundreds of new threats daily, it’s vital to have a defense system in place to ensure your system remains healthy. One of the biggest benefits of a firewall is that you can control entry points in your system and stop virus attacks as soon as possible.

Protection Against Hackers

As many businesses transition to online platforms, they often see a rise in hacking. Many hackers attempt to enter systems after hours, which means a hacker could be attacking your network and accessing secure information after you and your employees leave the office for the day. Since this virtual break-in occurs after hours or on the weekend, you and your team may not be able to take action until it’s too late.

Having a firewall in place will stop many hackers in their tracks. Most hackers and scammers will move on or stop trying to access systems as soon as they see that a firewall is in place. One primary firewall advantage is that they provide 24/7 protection to keep your network safe outside business hours.

Ability to Monitor Network Traffic

Hundreds of gigabytes of data go in and out of your network system each day, creating numerous opportunities for threats to your operations. When you have a firewall in place, you can monitor and analyze all network traffic. Your business can put preestablished rules and filters into place to protect your systems further.

A well-trained IT team from Kirbtech can also personalize your company’s protection levels based on the data going in and out of your firewall.

Eliminates Spyware

As technology systems become more robust, criminals have more entry points they can use to infiltrate your network. One of the most common ways hackers gain access to your business’s network is through malware and spyware. These two malicious systems can enter your network, control your computer and steal your data. Investing in a firewall provides a blockade against spyware and protects your system.

Creates Privacy in Your Business

Investing in a firewall to keep your employees and your customer’s data safe creates a culture of privacy and trust. Your customers will appreciate that your company takes the necessary precautions to prevent hackers and other malicious software from stealing their information.

Additionally, upgrading your data-protection systems can give you a competitive advantage and serve as a selling point to potential customers. Having firewall protection is especially beneficial if your company deals with case-sensitive data.

Contact Kirbtech for Business Firewall Assistance

When you need firewall assistance for your business, you know you can rely on the expert team at Kirbtech. With our competitively priced IT solutions, you’ll gain quality protection without exceeding your budget.

We’re a Pennsylvania-based company and take great pride in quickly responding to all customer concerns to serve our community. Businesses can also take advantage of a free consultation so you can be confident our business firewall assistance services are the right choice for your company.

Complete our online contact form today to learn more about how we can effectively protect your business from cyber threats!

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